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Lee Bray

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Everything posted by Lee Bray

  1. I have a "mumei" wakizashi which papered to Owari Seki about ten months ago. That was after it failed shinsa with a very nice mei - Omi(No) Kami Fujiwara Tadahiro - which was then removed on advice from a Japanese agent and resubmitted. Roger Robertshaw saw the blade originally and said bad gimei. The mei was wrong and the blade was wrong. Then he realised that Hizen Tadahiro never signed that way. Quick check in Hawleys and we found TAD44, who signed this way and worked in...yep, Owari... NBTHK said gimei. Whether they thought it a gimei of Hizen Tadahiro or the little known Owari smith, we'll never know, but for them to then paper the blade to Owari Seki after the mei was removed...
  2. Paul, as a Hizen collector, you know that you can spot the Hizen Tadayoshi mei on a bunch of nakago across the room. Whilst not identical, they all follow a certain style and are fairly straight and uniform. If anyone has Roger Robertshaw's "School of Hizen Tadayoshi", look at page 51 for what I mean. Nidai is not in that example as he signed Tadahiro but the similarity across all the generations is fairly apparent, to me anyway. Your point of using the differences in the Nidai mei to accurately date his blades is valid but it also shows that there is some uniformity to his mei and the changes are not due to 'bad days' or sak'e. The smiths who are commonly faked are generally good smiths. Given the time and effort they put into becoming such, I don't really see that they would sign their work while suffering from the shakes. Did it happen? Probably, yes, but I can't see it as normal. Kiyomaru was known for enjoying the sauce and still managed to carve a consistent mei...but maybe he had a high alcohol tolerance... :D Sorry, Roy...I'm not making my comments with regard to your swords validity, I just question the 'good days/bad days' scenario. As said, the blade is the real signature at the end of the day.
  3. Make that centuries. Take a look at the Hizen Tadayoshi school lineage for very similar mei over nine generations. Most of the generations can only be told apart by slight variations in stroke direction, specifically done to distinguish between them(from my limited knowledge of Tadayoshi mei, anyway). If nine generations can replicate similar mei, I reckon one smith should be able to handle it.
  4. All good advice and you seem to take it on board. Out of interest, how is the fit between tsuba and sword? I ask because, to me, it looks like the tsuba nakago ana has been widened to accommodate the blade. If that's the case and the fit is good, I'd refrain from selling the tsuba. It's always annoying when you buy a sword and the tsuba rattles around and clearly was never meant for the blade. If this one fits, and it looks like it was fitted to the blade many years back from the patina, then I'd keep it with the blade. Despite all the offers you'll get from NMB Jakushi tsuba admirers... :D
  5. Or if you're using the firefox browser and have a wheel on your mouse, you can click the mouse wheel on the link and it will open in a new tab.
  6. The tsuba looks to be Jakushi school. http://www.nihonto.us/JAKUSHI%20II.htm http://www.silk-road.us/jakushi4.html Grey is right that it will be very difficult to find a matching kashira; I managed to find a matching fuchi for a tsuka with kashira that I had but it took a few years of trawling the internet to no avail and then I eventually found one in a box of bits at a large sword show in Japan. Your best bet is a new set, as said, or perhaps a horn kashira. They are fairly common, inexpensive and means you keep the fuchi with the tsuka. I can also vouch for Mr.McDonald, he does good work. The sword is possibly a naginata naoshi, which is a shortened polearm(naginata). The overall shape and the thickness at the ridge suggest that to me. I'm assuming it's thick based on the shape of the ana in the seppa and it also looks as though the nakago ana on the tsuba as been altered slightly to allow for that thickness. The mark on the habaki looks to be just that and not a kanji.
  7. You'd be surprised but then I base my experience on HK weather. When it gets humid here, moist dust circulates and it's a killer for carbon steel if it's not covered. You seem to know what you're about and if you're ok with a couple of shirasaya, go for it. Given the reasonable condition of the current polish, I can't imagine too much steel being removed so maybe one shirasaya will suffice anyway. Good luck with the project.
  8. Spend an hour or two, one or two nights a week, sit back with a beer, cleaning kit and a good light source and have fun. Uchiko and/or isopropyl alcohol will eventually remove all old, dried oil. Before investing in a polish, you want to make sure there are no vertical cracks in the edge, called hagire. They are damned hard to spot on an out of polish blade and they seriously devalue your blade if they are there. They are often fond in the middle of an expensive polish which is not a good experience... They can be seen prior to polish so take the time and examine the edge during your cleaning sessions. They're not too common so not trying to scare you, just making you aware of the possibility. As for putting the cleaned blade back into the old saya, I wouldn't worry about it. Any damage that the saya could do to the sword is already done and it will protect the blade from ambient elements. In my neck of the woods, exposed steel quickly gets spotted with rust even if oiled. A cover helps a lot. Of course, if the saya feels like a tube of grit when you're sliding the sword back in then that's a different story. Consider that if you get shirasaya made for it now prior to polish, there's a chance that contaminants(rust/dirt) from the blade could lodge into the shirasaya and be there when you get the blade polished later. Also, depending on the level of polish needed, enough steel could be removed to loosen the fit. I'd save the cost of shirasaya till the sword is being polished.
  9. An unusual find... I believe the signature reads Keiryu. There is one smith who signed with these kanji in my reference book(Hawleys). Here is the info. Keiryu - Yamashiro 1681 60 Same as Yoshihira ~ ~ KEI2 So, your sword is signed by Keiryu of Yamashiro province(or made his work in Yamashiro style). He lived around 1681, so if the signature is genuine, your blade is of that time. Very roughly, 1600 - 1800 AD, was known as the Shinto period. The 60 refers to a points rating. 60 is high and means your smith is a good one. Bear in mind that fake signatures of the big names have been put on blades by the Japanese for centuries so that could be the case here. I'd recommend getting this blade into knowledgeable hands as it could be worth something. They'll also be in a better position to say if the damage to the blade is repairable. Given the macabre appearance, that it was found in the woods and doesn't appear to have been there for too long...maybe it should visit the local constabulary first. If you go that route, figure out where you've been every night for the last year and go with a lawyer... P.S. http://www.nihontomessageboard.com/faq.html You'll find general care and maintenance described here. Fingers on a blade can cause expensive damage to a polished blade. This blade isn't polished but I certainly wouldn't want my fingerprints on it.
  10. There doesn't appear to be anything about this sword that suggests WW2 except that it came from Japan in 1945. Swords of all ages were taken from Japan at that time so you cannot determine its age from that.
  11. The way the nakago kinks towards the jiri makes me think Hizen Tadakuni. Here is a good example of what I mean - http://yakiba.com/juyo_token_tadakuni.htm But in current condition that would be a large assumption to make. I certainly think that little dog leg in the nakago is a pointer to something - whether it be Tadakuni or another smith/school that shaped their nakago that way.
  12. Not sure even Neil Armstrong would want to make that step. You want to avoid making any judgement of the blade,especially age, from what you see of the fittings. High quality fittings may suggest a good blade but not necessarily. This saya may not have been made for the sword, it just happens to fit, so what you can learn from that? (not saying that's the case, just an example) Assessing this blade to Heian period because there's an elephant on the saya is a quick road to ruin. Learn the blade.
  13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:%E5%B ... 8A%851.jpg http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95% ... -hundo.jpg http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95% ... undo10.jpg Seems they were used by the Goto family as currency exchange weights. A tad more interesting than weighing out sprouts. Morita-san, you were spot on with the 300 momme guess. The article lists the largest weight at 1124.27g so 1115.7g is not far off.
  14. Thanks, Morita-san. A wear and tear loss of ~8g is not so much of a stretch including scale differences. Fundo 分銅 Taken from RichT's site. http://kodogunosekai.com/
  15. Is this a Japanese fundo? I came by it in Hong Kong several years ago and assumed it was a large, Chinese paper weight or scale weight. Recently, though, I saw a tsuba on RichT's blog which pictured a set of fundo which are identical in shape. It's made of either brass or bronze and weighs 1115.7g so doesn't correlate with any Japanese weight units. I believe 2 kin weigh 1.2kg and although it's had a few divots taken out of it, it's a bit of a stretch to think it's lost 84.3g...although it could have belonged to an unscrupulous merchant who liked light weights...(who ever heard of such a thing ) There also appear to be 3 or 4 kanji/hanzi on the top. Too much abuse to read them but the top could be Kin. Thanks for any information.
  16. Thanks, chaps. I would have said that machi-okuri would not affect an ubu nakago since the sabigiwa(rust border between habakimoto and nakago) separates the nakago from the blade to me. But if the NTHK say that a nakago is not ubu because of a 1cm machi-okuri...fair enough.
  17. An orikaeshi mei blade still has its mei but is far from ubu. A Koto tachi nijimei with the kanji just above the jiri...that retains its mei but is not ubu. Just because the mei is present doesn't mean the nakago is ubu. Would machi-okuri be regarded as an alteration of the nakago and make it not ubu?
  18. I think he means a gimei of the Kamakura period Ryokai, son of Rai Kunitoshi. http://www.sho-shin.com/rai3.htm
  19. Mark - if it is forge scale on your tang then the tang will have been heated to such a degree that the hamon in the blade will be adversely affected. I'd be hoping it is pine resin or some other glue residue if I were you.
  20. The steel in Chinese fakes is cheap, of unknown quality and has no heat treatment. 'Backyard tameshigiri', any kind of cutting and possibly even just swinging it will more than likely result in a broken blade and worst case scenario, the broken bit is lodged in you or anyone with you. Save your money and some probable grief.
  21. The above Yasuoki has been returned to the Hong Kong owner with no problems. It was held in customs and returned by them, never making it to the Tokyo dealer. The dealer has since said that for swords made less than 100 years ago he needs the details first, then he can apply for an entry permit for the sword and proceed as normal. I believe this is also the case for hand carried swords as a respected US polisher had issues hand carrying a Gassan(less than 100 years old, don't know which Gassan) blade into Japan at the same time as the Yasuoki incident. He actually managed to get it through but had to pay an import tax and was told he would no longer be able to bring in modern swords without the necessary paperwork.
  22. I just had a Gendaito tsuka wrapped by David. Great work, good price and easy to deal with. I'd recommend him and will certainly use him again myself.
  23. Isn't that just tempering, reducing the hardness with heat? I'm wondering why high carbon steel would be considered for a tsuba. High carbon steel would have been reserved for swords. It makes little sense to me that HC steel would be used in tsuba but maybe it was. Henk - Of course it's brittle otherwise it wouldn't chip, it would roll.
  24. Hardened steel is brittle. Unhardened steel is tough and malleable. Why any warrior would want a hardened, high carbon tsuba next to his fingers is beyond me.
  25. Thanks for the explanation, Chris. O MiMi's knowledge is second to none so food for thought. I'm not entirely convinced though, as it still seems to me that compete carbon migration would negate any value of soft core steel to hard edge steel.
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